Today’s text is in Genesis Chapter 39 where we pick up with Joseph in Egypt. Please open your bible, or your bible app and read Genesis 39.
Overview of Vs. 1 – 23…. Joseph was purchased by Potiphar, an officer of Pharoah (Pharoah was the general name for all the kings of Egypt. It was a title like “king” or “president” used to address the country’s leader. The Pharoah who placed Joseph in charge of Egypt was a different person from the pharoah who turned against the Hebrews in the book of Exodus.)
Here’s the part I love – even though it looked like a “set back” it was the beginning of a “set up” as you will see in the Chapters ahead. God was moving and He was with Joseph and blessed everything that he put his hands to. This caught the attention of Potiphar and he promoted Joseph to be in charge over everything in his house. Potiphar trusted him completely and took himself out of the day-to-day leaving it to Joseph.
Now we know the devil is ALWAYS going to try and derail God’s plan for our lives. And it was no different with Joseph. It says in verse 6 that Joseph was handsome, and in vs. 7 that Potiphar’s wife started casting longing eyes on him. She tried to seduce him to lie with her. But Joseph knew that God had provided him this position of authority and denied her. And what I like is that he says in verse 9, after he explains how good Potiphar has been to him, I won’t sin against GOD. He understood that he should not do it to Potiphar, but ultimately, he would be sinning against God who is the one who provided him the favor to get where he was. How many men in positions of authority have we watched publicly fall before our very eyes because of sexual sin? It’s the age-old trick of the enemy. I can almost see the devil on his haunches, laughing as the headlines are printed and the new stories roll across the TV. So much destruction to so many lives.…
Potiphar’s wife was relentless, she pursued him day by day until the perfect trap was set. There were no witness’s around, no one in the house but him and her, and she grabbed him! He pulled out of his coat and left as fast as he could – but she was left holding his coat. And that’s when she cried out the lies against him – “He tried to take me!” Potiphar believed his wife and had Joseph thrown in prison.
It became like a game of chess. I’m sure the devil thought he had won -BUT GOD. In verse 21 we read “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” And once again, Joseph started “climbing the ladder” in prison. All prisoners were put under his watch and he was trusted completely.
Lessons Learned from Today’s Scripture: (**Some taken from the Life Application Study Bible)
- As a prisoner and slave, Joseph could have seen his situation as hopeless. Instead, he didn’t stop doing his best, with each small task given him. His hard work and positive attitude were soon noticed by the warden, who promoted him to prison administrator. Are you facing a seemingly hopeless situation? At work, at home, or at school, follow Joseph’s example by taking each small task and doing your best. Remember how God turned Joseph’s situation around? He will see your efforts and can reverse even overwhelming odds.** When I’m having a bad day at work I often say this verse to ground myself “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord.” – Colossians 3:23 That verse reminds me who I need to be pleasing daily.
- Recently at a Women’s event I shared that when I started seeing my job as a “Mission field” instead of a “mine field”, things changed for me. I stopped dreading going in every day and instead prayed “Lord, put someone in my path today I can encourage.” We started a bible study, people come into my office and share their “God moments” with me, others come into my office and I pray for them. The key is take the focus off ourselves “Poor, pitiful me” – and instead focus on how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus to others around you! You will be amazed how looking outward instead of inward will actually make you feel better!
- Potiphar’s wife failed to seduce Joseph, who resisted this temptation by saying it would be a sin against God. Joseph didn’t say “I’d be hurting you,” or “I’d be hurting Potiphar,” or “I’d be hurting and sinning against myself.” Under pressure, such excuses can easily be rationalized away to make it seem “OK”. Remember that sexual sin is not just between two consenting adults, it is an act of willful disobedience against God.**
- Joseph avoided Potiphar’s wife as much as possible. He refused her advances and finally ran from her. Sometimes, merely trying to avoid temptation is not enough. We must turn and run from them, especially when the temptations are very strong, as is often the case in sexual temptations.**
- It can sometimes be difficult to remove yourself from flirtatious advances. It is best to not open the door to them, even a crack. The devil will use others, like he did Potiphar’s wife, to try and play on a specific weakness. If you don’t think your pretty enough, someone will tell you you’re beautiful. If you struggle monetarily, someone will tell you how if they had you, they’d take care of you. If you and your spouse are so busy taking care of the kids and the bills you haven’t take time for one another, someone will be standing by ready to “just listen.” It’s the oldest trick in the book of the enemy to get you to fall. Once the devil gets his gnarly fingers in just the smallest of cracks, he’ll continue to try and pry the door to sin open. And we know all to well, as the bible says, “sin when conceived, leads to death.” Death of relationships, spiritual death … Stand guarded and firm and shut down any advances on the first try, keeping the door to your heart and salvation guarded and shut tight.
- And I feel God is laying it on my heart to end with this for someone out there: Know that if you have given in to temptation and are carrying around that guilt that God can and WILL forgive you! There is ALWAYS hope! There will still be consequences for sin, those don’t go away. Sometimes that’s divorce, loss of friendships, etc. BUT you can get right with God and he will wipe your sins as far as the east is to the west and remember them no more – IF – you repent (turn from sin and toward God) and get baptized for the remission of your sins. I hope if you are a reader who has been carrying around that guilt for far too long know that God forgives you the minute you ask. Now it’s time for you to forgive yourself and walk in peace and joy!! The bible says “Behold ALL things are passed away, ALL things become new!” You can become a new creation in Christ. (and if as you are reading this the devil is saying “Yes, but that’s not for you, you’ve done too much wrong to be forgiven…” That’s a lie. Push through those lies and towards Jesus!)
Thanks for joining me on this journey! We’ll learn about Joseph’s dreams tomorrow ….